<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 13, 2017

Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha Movie Review: Sharon Cuneta And Moi Marcampo As Female Versions Of The Late Dolphy And Panchito

THE BEST THING about “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha” is the imaginative animation used in the prologue and the credit titles. It implies that the movie is more of a fable and tells the story of a legendary family in a certain town whose members do not weep. It is said that if you’re estranged with your own family, all you have to do is to stay with this family and you and your own family members will all be reunited. When the magical family left their village, their chief source of income, which is growing onions, slackened and the formerly prosperous town became poor.

Sharon Cuneta plays Cora, a woman whose husband and two grown up children have left her and she now wishes to be reconciled with them. Enter her new househelp, Moi Marcampo as Bebang, whose mother used to work for Cora.

Moi is uncomfortable in her new surroundings, what with Sharon initially presented like a mystery. Her face is not shown, almost always covered by something or she is shown with her back to the camera. Then, all of a sudden, Director Mes de Guzman drops this and decides to shows Sharon’s face on screen.

She turns out to be an alcoholic and the first LOL moment in the movie is when she asks Moi to drink with her and she suddenly whips out a glass from her “batya” so she can start drinking with Sharon right away. Sharon opens up to her maid and asks Moi to help her look for her missing husband and kids. She believes she can do this if only she could locate “ang pamilyang hindi lumuluha” and make them stay in her home.

Moi then asks the help of uncle, Nino Muhlach as Buboy, who has a talent in tracking down missing people. After some supposedly funny incidents of Buboy asking a lot of people about the object of his search, he finally finds the parents, Joe Gruta and Flor Salanga, and brings them to Sharon. Then he finds their son, Kiko Matos, and Sharon also asks him to live with them.

Although the film’s title is about the family that doesn’t weep, it’s not really concerned about them. As a matter of fact, they stay with Sharon in her house but Sharon doesn’t even interact with them and we know next to nothing about them. When Kiko is found, he’s not even shown being reunited with his parents or whether they’re at all happy to see him again. Moi is given more importance and she starts to seduce Kiko, but she’s not successful.

Then, the movie takes a dramatic turn and, Sharon, after trying to make the audience laugh, suddenly drops the clown act and goes into dramatic mode with a breakdown scene where she pines for her missing family, complete with her nose dripping with uhog. She does it well but the lugubrious sequence seems quite anachronous to the overall tone of the movie.

This is Sharon’s first try in making an indie film and we don’t know why she chose this material. They say it’s a black comedy, which treats matters considered taboo in a humorous, satirical way, but this movie doesn’t really feel like that. The black comedies we know are “Nurse Betty”, “Heathers”, “Death Becomes Her”, “Trainspotting”, “The Hangover” series, “Bridesmaids”. And this movie is certainly nothing like that.

There might be a subtext to it that eludes us but, at best, we’ll describe it as a shallow and silly comedy. There are some scenes where you don’t know whether to laugh or cringe, and you find yourself doing both. The scenes that succeed in tickling us only work because of the very hilarious banter and natural interaction between Sharon and Moi that act as the narrative glue holding the film together.

You actually get the feeling that most of their scenes are mere improvisations and their exchange of witty punchlines are mostly ad libs that they themselves cooked up, especially when Sharon says to Moi: “Umaabuso ka na ha. Masyado ka nang pamilyar.”

Without them, this movie would have simply fallen apart at the seams, which cannot be said of their co-actors who are not even reasonably funny. Sharon and Moi have a certain comic chemistry that makes them a delight to watch on screen, just like a female version of the late Dolphy and Panchito. We wish we could care more for their characters.

Sharon is so generous to allow Moi to be on an equal footing with her because, in truth, they are both playing lead roles, getting almost the same screen time and exposure. It was a gamble for Sharon to do this kind of free wheeling project that allows her to show her flare for comedy but we don’t think diehard Sharonians will be totally pleased that this is her comeback vehicle after a long absence on the screen.

But somehow, we think it paid off for her as she is, in a way, luckier than Nora Aunor when Ate Guy was directed by de Guzman in “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti”, a movie that failed to contribute anything concrete to her long career as a top actress.

Sharon chose to deviate from her usual dramas and succeeds to display a different side of her in making fun of herself, even if the movie itself is not that well realized and looks more like a series of hit or miss sitcom scenes. Looks like de Guzman is not in full control of his material and we can’t blame him as it’s really difficult to do a comedy, and a black comedy at that.

Up to now, his only movie we truly like is “Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong”. Locally, one of the best black comedies we’ve seen is the late Soxie Topacio’s “Ded Na Si Lolo”, which has quite a morbid subject but manages to come out very funny. “Pamilya” is quite sloppy in comparison and you get the feeling that the writer-director doesn’t really have a good grasp of his material and is not even totally sure where he wants to take it.

Here, there are sequences that just fall flat on its face, like the scenes showing Cora as a TV host with Cris Villanueva as her boss, that seem to belong to another movie. Another funny but incomprehensible scene is Moi confronting a pair of sluts, one of them overweight but feeling sexy in her revealing clothes, because she got jealous after she saw them cavorting with Kiko.

We’re just wondering why the scene they showed onthe trailer, with Moi playing the piano, was deleted from the final film. Its sheer absurdity could have been a well founded confirmation of the film’s choice to be truly weird and bizarre so no explanations would be necessary.

And while we’re talking about weirdness, now that “Kita Kita” with a plain looking comedian like Empoy making oodles at the box office, our recommendation now is for Moi (who’s actually funnier than Empoy) to be paired in a romantic comedy with her very famous boss, Papa P. We’re sure they’ll also have a winning chemistry like Alempoy. They will be known as PioMoi.